THE Cabinet has given Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies the green light to designate Musina-Makhado as a special economic zone (SEZ), which would draw an estimated R40bn into Limpopo province.

SA’s manufacturing sector has been in decline, shedding thousands of jobs. The department’s SEZ programme is part of the government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan aimed at boosting manufacturing.

The R40bn would go into the establishment of an energy and metallurgical industrial park, which will include power, coking, ferrochrome, ferromanganese, ferrosilicon, pig iron metallurgy, lime, steel and stainless steel plants.

"A consortium of Chinese investors led by Hong Kong Mining Exchange will be investing more than R40bn into the park, which they will also develop and manage," the Department of Trade and Industry in a statement on Thursday.

The investment was expected to create 21,000 jobs in Musina-Makhado.

Davies said the SEZ Act of 2014 had brought a new approach to the planning and development of SEZs.

This led to a new incentives package for SEZs, which includes a corporate tax rate of 15% for investments that qualify to be in a SEZ.

Some of the government’s other SEZ programmes for which R19.7bn has been secured, include:

• Coega in the Eastern Cape

• East London in the Eastern Cape

• Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal

• Dube Tradeport in KwaZulu-Natal

Other zones that had been designated, but were not yet operational, were those at OR Tambo International Airport, Maluti-a-Phofung and Saldanha Bay.

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